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CAA News Today

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship. The following exhibitions and events should not be missed. Check the archive of CWA Picks at the bottom of the page, as several museum and gallery shows listed in previous months may still be on view or touring.

November 2012

Susan Hamburger

Susan Hamburger, detail of a cartouche in the installation of Creeping Ornamentalism, 2012, acrylic-painted collage on paper with foam-board molding, dimensions variable (artwork © Susan Hamburger; photograph provided by the Visual Art Center of New Jersey)

Susan Hamburger: Creeping Ornamentalism
Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg Gallery
Visual Art Center of New Jersey, 68 Elm Street, Summit, NJ 07901
September 14–December 2, 2012

In Creeping Ornamentalism, Susan Hamburger creates a Rococo period room complete with faux moldings and intricate hand-painted panels that focus on the destruction caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011. The three states she depicts in the panels—New Jersey, Vermont, and Massachusetts—are all places where the artist has lived in the past. Imagery of flora and fauna suggests growth and destruction, and Hamburger includes likenesses of each state’s endangered animals: the osprey, the vesper sparrow, and the blue-spotted salamander. Like previous period rooms by Hamburger, the installation at Eisenberg Gallery borrows designs from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European decorative and fine arts to address current social, political, and economic issues.

Materializing “Six Years”: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238
September 14, 2012–February 3, 2013

Superb in its conception and realization, Materializing “Six Years” pays homage to the influential art critic and feminist pioneer, Lucy R. Lippard, by exploring the role that her 1973 book on conceptual art, Six Years, played in the critical construction of the emergent art movement back then and its historical perception today. Organized by Catherine Morris of the museum and Vincent Bonin, an independent curator, the exhibition—itself a prime example of feminist curatorial practice—brings together the work of approximately ninety international artists, including Vito Acconci, Eleanor Antin, and Richard Serra, to illuminate how Lippard’s curatorial projects, critical writing, and politics contributed to art making, writing, and display in the United States and beyond.

Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas, Origin of the Universe 2, 2012, rhinestone, acrylic paint, and oil enamel on wood panel, 44 x 48 in. Private collection, New York (artwork © Mickalene Thomas; photograph by Christopher Burke Studio and provided by the artist, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, and Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects)

Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238
September 28, 2012–January 20, 2013

In her first solo museum exhibition, Origin of the Universe, now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, Mickalene Thomas places her jewel-encrusted paintings in four living-room installations into addition to hanging them traditionally. She also presents, for the first time, a new twenty-three minute biographical film, Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman, which chronicles the life of the artist’s mother, Sandra Bush, who also serves as a model and muse in other works. Highlights of the show include several versions of the painting Origin of the Universe, a reimagining of Gustave Courbet’s provocative L’Origine du monde (1866) both as an intimate self-portrait and as a portrait of the Thomas’s wife. References to the old masters mix freely with a painted collage aesthetic, bringing together art history, folk art, and mural painting.

Sandra Ramos: Viaje al “Sueno Americano”
Accola Griefen Gallery
547 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001
October 18–November 24, 2012

The Cuban artist Sandra Ramos plays with the motifs of childhood, fantasy, and travel in three series that address life in her native Havana, the wider world of the United States, and the disconnect between fiction and reality in which both countries are complicit. In Collectibles, Ramos has created books and dioramas that depict the artist as a small doll-like figure among silhouettes of famous skyscrapers. In Travel to the American Dream, the artist adds collaged elements and graphite drawing to digital prints of American passports and immigration documents. In Habana Mirage, curved pieces of mirrored Plexiglas pairing depictions of the skylines of Manhattan and Havana hug the corners of the gallery, evoking a self-reflective convergence.

Penny Slinger

Penny Slinger, Bookworm (An Exorcism), 1977, unique photocollage, 13½ x 20 in. (artwork © Penny Slinger; photograph provided by the artist and Broadway 1602, New York)

Penny Slinger: An Exorcism Revisited, 1977–2012
Broadway 1602
1181 Broadway, Third Floor, New York, NY 10001
September 11–November 30, 2012

Penny Slinger is one of the few women artists to have gained recognition for her work despite the sexism of the British art world in the 1960s, due partly from the support of her mentor, the poet and Surrealist art historian Sir Roland Penrose. Slinger, still active as an artist today, is known for her employment of Surrealist tropes (collage, self-transgression, sexual symbolism) from a woman’s point of view. She has also enjoyed a varied career outside the art world, as a set designer and director for a radical feminist theater collective in London called Holocaust, and as the author of the popular collage novels 50% – The Visible Woman (1971) and Exorcism (1977). In addition to presenting her mixed-media work, the exhibition at Broadway 1602 will display archival material that illuminates other sides of her art practice, such as an unrealized film project.

Under Pressure
Joslyn Art Museum
2200 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68102
October 6, 2012–January 6, 2013

Under Pressure is a group exhibition that includes stellar modern and contemporary prints by Hung Lui, Kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, Helen Frankenthaler, Vija Celmins, Ellen Gallagher, Jennifer Bartlett, Barbara Krueger, and Kiki Smith. Organized by Toby Jurovics, chief curator of the Joslyn Art Museum, the show is culled from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation and will travel to Kansas, Utah, and Montana through 2014.

Kiki Kogelnik: I Have Seen the Future
Kunstverein Hamburg
Klosterwall 23, Hamburg, Germany 20095
September 15–December 30, 2012

I Have Seen the Future, an exhibition devoted to the Austrian artist Kiki Kogelnik, is the latest in a series of shows at the Kunstverein that seeks to reevaluate marginalized women artists associated with the male-dominated Pop art movement of the 1960s. Kogelnik, like her peer Evelyne Axell, the subject of a 2011 retrospective at the museum, made work about the female body in assemblage, painting, and sculpture. She is remembered within feminist art circles primarily for her super heroines—silhouettes with caricatured facial features often evoking the artist herself. Kogelnik’s work also addressed the political and cultural changes of the decade with topical paintings such as Heavy Clouds over the Cuba Crisis (1964) and Hit the Moon (1969), and through a series of colorfully painted bomb sculptures.

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